Getting the Most out of Your Benefits

Business Health Trust Offers Flexible Timelines for Your Employee Benefits Renewal

Business Health Trust is your source for employee benefits, offering a diverse selection of health insurance plans combined with other resources and discounts to create an incomparable benefit program for small businesses in Washington state.

Whether you have two employees or more than 100, we can help you create a benefits program that attracts talent and keeps your employees healthy and productive — at a budget you can afford.

With Business Health Trust, you also have the flexibility to choose a program timeline that best suits your business needs. For many companies, open enrollment falls in November, while many of your employees are busy with the holidays and closing down the fiscal year.

Looking for a better time of year to plan your employee benefits program? How about now?

Business Health Trust offers three distinct timelines that aim to better accommodate your distinct business:

  • July 1 Anniversary Dates through 11 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees
  • Rolling Renewal through the Small-Group Community-Rated Product
    For groups with 1-50 employees
  • January 1 Anniversary Dates through 13 Industry Health Trusts
    For up to 200 employees

This unique solution is key to our mission is to help Washington’s business community thrive by providing the high-quality, affordable employee benefits growing companies need to be competitive.

To learn more, please fill out the Request a Quote form or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

woman on cell phone with coffee and laptop

Digital Mental Health Support Just a Click Away Through myStrength

With the start of Mental Health Month comes a new resource for Business Health Trust members enrolled in one of the many medical plans available through Kaiser Permanente.

On May 1, 2020, Kaiser Permanente introduced the myStrength digital mental health app, available at no additional cost to enrolled adults. myStrength provides resources for emotional well-being, including help with stress, anxiety, depression, sleep, parenting and more. The personalized program includes interactive exercises, in-the-moment coping tools, and inspirational resources.

This resource is particularly valuable while social distancing remains in effect though Washington state’s extended Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.

To access myStrength, make sure you have an active kp.org/wa account, then follow the easy three-step directions on the myStrength flyer.

For more information on how Kaiser Permanente supports members’ mental health and wellness, go to wa.kaiserpermanente.org/html/public/specialties/mental-health/mental-health-wellness.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form.

Video chat with male doctor

Telehealth Access Expanded for Business Health Trust Members Enrolled in Premera Blue Cross

Many recreational activities have already reopened as we begin Phase 1 of Washington state’s plan to lift the Stay Home, Stay Healthy order on May 31. But even as we’re better able to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, social distancing means many of us will continue to connect virtually with colleagues, family and friends.

In the meantime, that is also the best way to communicate with your health care providers for non-emergency care, especially if you think you may have been infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera Blue Cross, the telehealth options available are better than ever to help accommodate increased demand and to help members access the specialized care they need.

As always, members have virtual care access to:

  • 24-Hour NurseLine, accessible at no charge; phone number is listed on the back of members’ Premera Blue Cross ID card
  • Teladoc® – Talk to a board-certified doctor via phone, video or mobile app
  • Talkspace – Online behavioral therapy with a licensed clinician via private message and live video

Premera also has announced a temporary enhancement of in-network virtual providers that goes beyond primary health care to include additional options for mental health and substance use disorder. New providers include:

  • 98point6 – On-demand, text-based primary care
  • Doctor On Demand – Video-based primary care and mental health therapy
  • Boulder Care – Video-based treatment for opioid use disorder
  • Workit Health – Video-based treatment for alcohol use disorder

Member cost shares are waived for all telehealth services. Access to these new providers and the waiving of member costs shares are available through December 31, 2020.

If you are not yet a member of Business Health Trust and would like to learn more, please fill out our Request a Quote form or read more about the resources and services available to members during the COVID-19 pandemic in the article “What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Note: This article was updated on May 29, 2020, to update a change in the telehealth expansion from June 30, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

Hand sanitizer

What Does Your Health Insurance Do For You?

Business Health Trust is more than just insurance. We are a source to help your small businesses navigate the complex world of health insurance and employee benefits — and our dedication to that task has never been more important than in these challenging times.

Immediately after Washington state became the site of the first U.S. deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19), Business Health Trust took on a leadership role aimed at sharing best practices and streamlining communications, then started doing just that for members enrolled in Business Health Trust.

Since then, valuable information focused on supporting small businesses has been emailed to Business Health Trust members as quickly as possible, starting with a campaign to help small businesses obtain free or discounted cleaning and sanitizing supplies while they are in short supply, followed by a survey to find out what other needs members have.

Members have received helpful flyers such as 5 Ways to Avoid the Flu and Protect Yourself from Flu & Coronavirus: Handwashing, while the dedicated COVID-19/Coronavirus Resources for Employers page offers useful information to help employers find resources to keep their employees safe, including information on how to apply for a small business loan and unemployment information.

As the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) has continued to develop, Business Health Trust has kept members up-to-date with FAQs, forms, links and other resources to help small businesses and individuals take advantage of its Paycheck Protection Program. The program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more, which you can learn more about in the following Business Health Trust articles:

Business Health Trust’s valued partners also have stepped up to offer even more to members: For instance, Archbright has enhanced the free online membership that already is available to Business Health Trust members to offer even more of its HR resources at no additional cost, including access to the HR hotline.

Meanwhile, Business Health Trust is also taking a leadership role in the free #WeGotThisWA Webinar Series offered through the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the endorsing sponsor of Business Health Trust. For more information or to register, go to the Seattle Chamber’s events page.

Why? Because We Care

Business Health Trust understands that a healthy company provides the foundation for a healthy workforce. That’s why we are dedicated to doing more than offering comprehensive, affordable employee benefits to small and mid-size businesses in Washington state.

We are also a resource for small employers, offering the information and tools they need to keep up-to-date on policy issues that affect small businesses in the state. To do that we also advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington, so that small businesses and non-profits can offer their employees the health benefits they need to stay competitive, providing health insurance for groups that might not otherwise be able to afford coverage.

These are the values we abide by every day. Because we are Business Health Trust. We are here for you.

To learn more or to enroll today to get access to these great resources, contact 425.201.1972 or email info@businesshealthtrust.com.

Small Business Resources: Emergency Loans, Unemployment and More

Business Health Trust’s core value is to be a resource to employers, and that’s especially important now as we navigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our small-business community.

We’d like to share new information related to our previous post on the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

Last week, the U.S. Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the CARES Act (the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). As a part of the new legislation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created a nearly $350 billion loan program called the Paycheck Protection Program. This program is available to businesses with 500 or fewer employees to help with payroll, rent, utilities, healthcare costs and more. The SBA has also expanded a number of their existing programs, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The federal government is currently finalizing the details and protocols about how and when different programs and relief will be implemented, and how financial institutions will help facilitate the execution of these programs.

Find out if your small business is eligible and what other questions you need to know before you apply in the CARES Act Q-and-A.

Additional preparation tips include this list of documents your bank may request when you apply for the loan.

CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Please be aware that the CARES act also includes two separate unemployment provisions, one which applies to individuals already eligible for unemployment compensation under state law, and another that creates a temporary, federally funded “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” program, which provides benefits to individuals who would otherwise be ineligible for benefits under state or federal law.

For more information, please see the Summary of CARES Act Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

 

 

Roundup of COVID-19 Webinars from Business Health Trust Partner Associations

Looking for resources to help stay informed on the developing COVID-19 outbreak? With our core value to be a resource to employers, Business Health Trust would like to share how our partner chambers are working to stay connected with members.

Although all in-person events have been canceled for the coming weeks, our partners are utilizing their robust networks to host webinars featuring the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 among other resources. The below list is still preliminary, so please be sure to keep an eye on the different Chamber websites or sign up for alerts:

Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
#WeGotThisWA series – free, registration required

Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce

Economic Alliance Snohomish County
Keeping the Lights On: A Business Resiliency Webinar – free, registration required

View upcoming webinars and sign up at https://localsnoco.com/educational-resources/

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce
Webinar on COVID-19; free and open to all; join at https://zoom.us/j/843841095 or click below times to learn more or for more accessibility options:

Thurston County Chamber of Commerce
Thurston’s Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know; free and open to all; click below to register or learn more:

  • April 2, 2:15 p.m.
  • April 9, 2:15 p.m.
  • April 16, 2:15 p.m.
  • April 23, 2:15 p.m.

Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Free informational videos can be viewed on the following topics:

SBA to Provide Disaster Loans for Coronavirus-Related Economic Disruptions

Business Health Trust is more than just your source for employee benefits. We advocate for small business insurance needs in Washington state, and are vigilant about staying on top of changes in the small business health insurance market.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact small businesses in Washington and nationwide, we would like to offer resources in light of an announcement from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) that it will provide economic injury disaster loans for coronavirus-related economic disruptions.

Please view the SBA’s Fact Sheet as the loans pertain specifically to the COVID-19 impact in Washington state.

To determine whether your small business might qualify, the SBA’s Three-Step Process PDF outlines steps to apply and other details. You may download the following forms to apply for the loan:

For additional detailed information, please view a PDF presentation from the SBA.

More information also is available on the SBA’s Disaster Assistance website.

March “Healthy Living” E-News Focuses on Coronavirus Resources

Usually during this time of year, Healthy Living with Business Health Trust turns its focus toward heading outdoors and fighting spring allergies. But with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continuing to impact us locally and globally, the March edition on Coronavirus Resources: Flyers, Links, Tips and More instead highlights tips to keep you safe and healthy, both at home and at the workplace.

Resources range from helpful flyers that encourage handwashing and other healthy behaviors, to links to our wellness partner including Premera Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, as well as information on how to access their virtual care resources.

Read more, sign up and and see past editions on our Healthy Living archive.

Coronavirus Resources from Business Health Trust Wellness Partners

Updated on March 10, 2020.

The coronavirus outbreak is evolving on a daily basis, and Business Health Trust wants to help you keep your workplace and your family healthy with updated resources from our wellness partners and beyond.

Medical professionals are advising people to take the same precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of cold and flu to also help prevent coronavirus. We’ve compiled those tips in the following flyers that can be posted at your workplace or other gathering space:

Further tips are available from wellness partner Wellspring EAP:

For day-to-day updates, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a dedicated Coronavirus Disease 2019 page that includes the latest travel guidelines and other time-sensitive information. Statewide updates are available daily on the Washington State Department of Health Coronavirus page.

Business Health Trust partner Premera Blue Cross also offers resources on a dedicated coronavirus page that is being updated as the situation continues to evolve. For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical coverage through Premera, please take note of the following important resources should you become ill or are just looking for some peace of mind:

  • TeladocTalk to a doctor by phone or video anytime, day or night. Be sure to sign up today so you can get care immediately when you need it. Teladoc visits are available at $0 copay through most Business Health Trust plans.
  • Talkspace — If you need somebody to talk to about your fears of coronavirus or other issues, Business Health Trust members enrolled in Premera also have access to on-demand professional therapy through Talkspace. The in-network behavioral telehealth provider gives you access to live video appointments and text messaging with a licensed clinician — anytime, anywhere.
  • Urgent Care or ER? — Not sure which resource is best for you? Check out our article “Need care? Know where to go — and what it will cost” with details to help you decide when to use the 24-hour Nurseline, Teladoc, Urgent Care or the Emergency Room.

For Business Health Trust members enrolled in medical through Kaiser Permanente, there is a dedicated 2019 Novel Coronavirus webpage with tips and resources, including information on the many ways to get care, including:

  • Online visit — Receive a treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription — without a trip to your doctor’s office. Register today to access online visits when you need them most.
  • CareClinic — Kaiser Permanente partners with 15 Bartell Drugs locations in the Puget Sound area to offer walk-in CareClinics staffed with Kaiser Permanente board-certified physician assistants and nurse practitioners who treat minor injuries and illnesses. View CareClinic locations.

These additional tips from Kaiser Permanente on how to “Supercharge your immune system” are also a great resource to help make healthy lifestyle choices that support your immune system year-round.

Why Should Employers Care About Virtual Care?

A recent U.S. study found that the average doctor visit took 121 minutes, including 37 minutes of travel time, 64 minutes of waiting time (both in waiting rooms and in exam rooms waiting for a practitioner) and just 20 minutes of face time with the doctor. These wait times take time away from work and life. These wait times cause employees to delay seeing a doctor and can cause spread of illness … resulting in more people taking time away from work.

Employers have a vested interest in virtual care and employee health and productivity. Virtual care can reduce indirect costs associated with employees missing work for doctor visits, showing up at work sick, or being off work with a chronic illness.

“Why do I care about virtual care?” Jane Billbe, SVP of Operations of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce puts it best: “One — I care deeply about my employees. Two — they have important jobs; I need them here at work. Three — it is more convenient for my employees and more cost-effective for both my employees and me as the employer.”

Virtual care is among the diverse resources offered through Business Health Trust, the employee benefits program available to Seattle Chamber member companies. To learn more, see the Wellness Resources available through Business Health Trust, or contact (425) 201-1972 quote@businesshealthtrust.com to get a quote today.